The Bigger Picture “Genealogy is like a Kitchen Spice Rack”

Instructor: Christa Klemme
How much do you know?
The Bigger Picture
“Genealogy is like a Kitchen Spice Rack”
“Genealogy is like a kitchen spice rack. You may have 10 to 15 different
spices in your cupboard, but there are only a few that you use in almost every
recipe: salt, pepper, and maybe garlic powder. Every now and then, a recipe
calls for other spices – rosemary, curry, thyme, sage – that have been in your
cabinet for heaven only knows how long, but they’re there when you need
them. Similarly, in genealogy, you may rely on those few records that
researchers use all the time in their ancestral quests: censuses, vital records,
wills and deeds. But in order to break through the brick walls in your family
research, you’ll need to look at the lesser-used records in your genealogical
spice rack.”
“Key Ingredients” by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Family Tree Magazine
Individual Timelines
As you begin to collect more information that just the name of your ancestor, their birth, marriage, and death dates, it would
be a good idea to create an individual timeline. You could create your timeline with your own style which best helps you
evaluate and continue your search for more records of this ancestor. This timeline at a minimum would include the dates of
events in chronological order and the event and its location. By including all available events to this ancestor, you would be
able to uncover inaccurate or missing time periods of information. In your research, be mindful of citing your sources
accurately (in case of a need to find the source data again or to prove the source data).
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perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without them. They have
done their work and now sleep. We are now called upon to do ours; which is
to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth” (Discourses of
Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941,
p. 406).
Immigration Records
Immigrant arrival records were kept generally from
1820 onward due to the U.S. Steerage Act.
 Port city for immigration records
 FHL microfilm catalogue for port of
arrival city and “immigration”
 NARA microfilm catalogue for port of
arrival city and “immigration”
 or
City Directories
Provide addresses, people within
same residence, occupations, can
also give indication of time range of
migration or immigration to the city,
give names of local fraternities
 Local, state, FHL, or
university libraries
 Local genealogical society
 Ellis Island immigrants
 Immigrant Ships Transcribers
 Your local and state libraries for
various holdings of transcribed
immigration records
Szucs, Loretto Dennis. “They Became Americans:
Finding Naturalization Records & Ethnic Origins”
Salt Lake
City, UT:
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Immigration Records Provide:
Immigration Indexes provide a shortcut to family’s
port and date of arrival
Passenger lists from 1820 to 1891 were called
“Customs Lists” The U.S. gave the forms to the
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shipping company to complete at the port of
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departure. These lists contained name of ship, its
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prior to 1906 are available
Immigration Passenger Lists from 1891 to 1954:
Naturalization Records
through the FHL or municipal courthouses where your
In 1893, Passenger lists had 21 columns of
immigrant ancestor arrived or settled. Post 1906 the
information requested.
records are available through the US Citizenship and
By 1917, Passenger lists had 38 columns of
Immigration Services at (approx.
information requested.
The NARA has filmed most original passenger
lists from 1820 to 1957.
Source of Immigration and Naturalization: “The Secret Garden” by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
and “Routes of Passage” by Sharon DeBarotolo Carmack Family Tree Magazine
Fraternal Societies
Fraternal societies were very popular social
organizations in the late 19th and early 20th
Potential signs of your ancestor’s
In 1896, one is eight U.S. adults were
affiliation with a fraternal organization:
members of a fraternal order (4.7 million
Open acknowledgment
Fraternal societies provided friendship,
Pictures in organizational dress regalia
opportunities to be among people of similar
Stationary with insignia
faiths, occupations, ethnic groups, political
Jewelry with insignia
affiliations, and usually had within the society
Headstone with insignia
a strong sense of community and service.
Examples of Fraternal Societies:
Social Societieso
Free Masons
Odd Fellows
Order of the Eastern Star
For Further Research Try:
The International Encyclopedia of Secret
Societies & Fraternal Orders by Alan Axelrod
Service Societieso
Independent Order of Odd
Fellows (often joined by immigrants for
social service
Lions Club
Rotary Club
Trade Societies (some resembled unions)o
The Grange (aka The Patrons of
Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers (now a part of International
Brotherhood of Teamsters)
Knights of Columbus (Catholic
You may be able to obtain your ancestors application to
join the fraternity, membership records, participation in
the organization, or the organization’s published history.
First, check the Family History Library, local and state
archives. Try writing to the local organization prior to
writing the larger organization record repository. (If not
located in these places, the local fraternal organization
would likely know where the records are held.) When
writing for information, include your ancestor’s name,
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city and county of residence and years of residence.
Please remember these records are private, and they
are not required to share them with the public.
Church Records
Source: “Faith’s Rewards” by David A. Fryxell Family Tree Magazine
Church RecordsAside from births, christenings,
marriages, and deaths, churches
kept records including: member lists,
household lists, tithing records, and
migration and immigration details.
They may also contain significant
events like confirmations, bar
mitzvahs and first communions.
Keep in mind that churches also ran
Some Tips on Religious background of immigrant groups
(aside from those seeking religious asylum):
 German families were likely Lutheran or Catholic
Scandinavians were likely Lutheran
Germans and Scandinavians moved to the Midwest
Church of England parishioners were likely
The Scottish Church parishioners likely became
Jews moved from Eastern Europe to larger cities
Some groups created their own churches Greek and
schools, orphanages, cemeteries.
Some even published congregational
histories and newspapers.
Russian Orthodox churches, Swedish Baptist churches,
African Methodist Episcopal churches created by freed
slaves, and new churches were established (i.e. The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Tips for Researching Church Records:
o Find the location where your ancestor lived- remember they may have gone to the closest church
rather than their denomination due to the closeness of the church to their home or the lack of a church
of their beliefs.
o Study the religion (and the time period specifically) within that area. Did the ethnicity, local history,
and location play a role into your ancestor’s faith?
o Contact the local, regional, or national church for its location of church records/archive.
o Search the FHL, local library, state library, and historical societies for church records
o Be open to your ancestor changing faiths due to marriage, religious reformation, or other reasons.
o Find out their religious denomination through clues in their photos (i.e. christenings, first
communion, confirmation, altar boys pictures, or props within the pictures, etc)
o Old maps and city directories can help you find the local churches
o Find clues in birth, marriage, and death certificates, baptismal certificates, church school records,
funeral card, obituaries and death notices in local newspapers
o Try the Periodical Source index for published church records
o See what’s available online at or for transcribed records
o See Cyndi’s List for a wide variety of information on “Religion & Churches”
Military Records
Civil War
The information that is available at the NARA
Draft records for the Civil War (both white
depends on the specific war.
citizens and non citizens) are available only
Indexes to the Revolutionary War service records
at the NARA in Washington D.C. under the
and actual records are available at the FHL and
“National Archives Record Group 110”.
Records include the man’s name,
The US Gave Bounty Land Warrants to veterans
residence, age as of 1 July 1896,
instead of payment. These records can be found
occupation, marital status, birth location,
online at Heritage Quest.
and possibly the military organization.
(These records have not been microfilmed.)
World War IThree Draft Registrations took place, between
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
1917 and 1918, registering over 24 million men
was created by the National Park Service
between the ages of 18 and 45. Registration
from records held by the NARA. It is a
cards included the registrants name, age, date
database of over 6.3 million names of Civil
and place of birth, home address, race,
War Soldiers and Sailors.
citizenship, occupation, personal description, and “Other
prior military service. With this information, you
information includes: histories of regiments
could then look for more World War I records.
in both the Union and Confederate Armies,
The original WWI Draft Registration records are
links to descriptions of 384 significant
located at the NARA in Georgia. They are also
battles of the war, and other historical
available at the FHL, and online at
information. Additional information about . You may also have luck at
soldiers, sailors, regiments, and battles, as
the free site:
well as prisoner-of-war records and
cemetery records, will be added over time.”
Try searching the FHL for records you may
want from the NARA. The FHL may have the
Try individual state archives for possible military records. For
microfilm you need.
example, The State of Missouri has a free online database of
The National Archives does not hold state
military records of Missourians who served during the period
militia records: For these records, you will need
of the War of 1812 to Word War I
to contact the appropriate State Archives.
Military Records pt 2
Types of Military Service Records (sourced directly from
This is a list of the Older Military Service Records held at Washington, DC.
Branch of
Military service performed by persons serving during an emergency and whose service was
considered to be in the Federal interest, 1775 - 1902
Regular Army
Enlisted personnel, 1789 - October 31, 1912
Officers, 1789 - June 30, 1917
Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1885
Officers, 1798 - 1902
Marine Corps
Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1904
Some officers, 1798 - 1895
Coast Guard
Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard: the Revenue Cutter Service
(Revenue Marine), the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, 1791 - 1919
Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces,
1861 - 1865
Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775 - 1916 and
Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775 - 1855
“How to Order Older Military Service or Pension Records
Order compiled records based on pre-1917 military service in the United States forces. Form Number: NATF 86
Military Pension/Bounty Land Warrant Applications
Order copies of military pension application files based on Federal (not State or Confederate) service between 1775
and 1903 (before World War I).
Categories of pension/bounty land files available using NATF Form 85:
1. A complete Civil War and later pension application file (up to 100 pages), based on Federal (not State or
Confederate) military service during the Civil War or later (includes the Pension Documents Packet.)
2. A complete Federal pre-Civil War military pension application based on Federal military service before 1861
(includes the Pension Documents Packet.)
3. A pension document packet that contains reproductions of eight documents containing genealogical information
about the pension applicant, to the extent these documents are present in the file.
4. A complete military bounty land application file based on service 1775-1855 (includes only rejected
Revolutionary War applications). “
State Militia Records
Access to Military Records by the General Public, including genealogists who
are not next-of-kin Post 1917
Occupational Records
Occupational records may include dates and places of previous employment, education, marital status, and
other misc. data.
o Apprenticeship and indenture servant (in Colonial America) records would include the names of
your ancestor’s parents. These records were likely found at the local level or historical societies, and
if no luck try the state archives.
o Look in city directories for possible indication of occupation. Find city directories microfilmed at
the FHL, local and state libraries, and some are online at Also find town and county
histories that have people’s occupation lists in them. Try Heritage Quest too.
o Read up on local history for an indication of occupations in the area (mining, farming, railroad,
factory work, etc).
o Check out family photos for possible clues
o Obituaries may give clues on occupations.
o If you ancestor was a farmer, they may have land records to locate.
o If your ancestor lived in a company town, like many miners did, then you can look into researching
“Company Towns” and the occupation and location at your local library.
o For pensions of employees try the local government level for records of employees like firefighters
and police officers. Links for researching public employees
o Keep in mind that governments required licensing for some private occupations. These records may
be available (i.e. saloon keepers, street venders, etc) These records may include name, age, birth
date, residence, marital status, and education.) Check state repositories for these records.
o Licenses for doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers, etc were issued and likely held at the
state archives.
Our 19th Century immigrant ancestors were likely a contribution to building up of America in the
area of transportation. It is likely that you have ancestors who worked building or running the
railroads. To find records of employment, check the railroad company’s archives, historical and
railroad societies, museums, archives, and private collections.
The government also kept track of some 20th Century railroad employees. If you ancestor’s Social
Security number (on a death certificate or the SSDI) begins with 700 and 728/729, then that
indicates that he/she received retirement benefits from the US Railroad Retirement Board
( ). The RRB pension records would contain copies of the
personas death certificates. According to their site, “Our records are limited to individuals who
worked in the rail industry after 1936.” Record requests are $27. “…the RRB's records are only on
persons whose employers were covered under the Railroad Retirement Act. Employers such as
streetcar, interurban, or suburban electric railways are not covered under this Act.”
Prior to 1850 I struggle to find records, where do I look?
Prior to1790, colonial states were irregular at taking census, however there are many that did.
Colonial enumerations are available at:
USGenWeb :
FamilyHistory Library microfilm
Heritage Quest at FHC or library
Since the 1850 Federal Census is the earliest record in which household members are listed by name,
it is often more difficult to find records of similar detail on ancestors. Other sources you may try that
would be helpful would be: published family or local histories, cemetery and church records, online
message boards, or original records (such as court, land, and tax records). Google it!
The Allen County Public Library ( ACPL) created and maintains
Always check for published
The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) If you find an article in a
family histories (online, the FHL,
journal that you are seeking, you can always request it from the
ACPL through their interlibrary loan (online at )
or at other libraries).
Check pedigree sources for
more information
has moved to:
Google search your ancestor (be
more specific if you get a wide
variety of results).